Standing in the balcony while receiving chemotherapy in a hospital
Cancer Updates IRL

My Cancer Diagnosis: How To Help & Stay Updated

The outpouring of support since I went public with my cancer diagnosis has been overwhelming incredible. It’s going to be a long road ahead so here are some ways to show your support.

Financial Assistance

🤑 The bad news is that I procrastinated and did not get private health insurance so my healthcare costs are not covered by any major insurance plan here in Sri Lanka. I’m still working on somehow getting on some kind of insurance so this may change!

Life Lesson

Medical insurance is not a sexy, but necessary purchase. Budget for it!

Now, the good news is that cancer treatment costs in Sri Lanka are relatively affordable compared to more developed countries. For example, the full cost (sans insurance or co-pay) of an Oncologist consultation is around LKR 3,000 (~USD 16.50). Not everything around my healthcare needs is that affordable but everything is more or less within reach even having to pay out of pocket.

Coupled with healthcare subsidies from my work, a steady paycheck, and financial help (as needed!) from both sides of my family, I’m happy to report that I am able to cover all of my healthcare costs for now comfortably.

If this ever changes, I will be the first to reach out. Promise.

Sending Food and Groceries

🛒 Thank you so much for wanting to send me some nourishing treats!

My oncologist has suggested I stick to eating food prepared at home, for now, to limit my risk of outside infections so I’ve reduced my intake of takeout food. Don’t worry, I’m still eating well at home with my wife and in-laws preparing some really tasty meals from our home kitchen!

I do indulge in some outside food now and then and if you would like to slip me a chocolate bar (hint hint!), it would be easier to send me some cash using the button below and let me take care of the purchasing for you so you don’t have to figure out what is available over here in Sri Lanka. 😁

Follow me on Instagram

📸 I will admit that I made a big, dramatic exodus from Facebook and Instagram earlier this year in protest of their dubious privacy practices and I’ve been largely happy with the decision to leave, until now.

Begrudgingly, I’ve decided to re-join Instagram since it remains the fastest way to update a large group of people quickly which is quite handy for days when I am in treatment and want to post a quick update.

If you’re on Instagram, click below to follow me!

Subscribe for Email Alerts

📩 For those of you who want to stay up to date via email updates, I’m hoping to pen a somewhat regular email newsletter with the first one going out soon. If you prefer to receive email (ie. are not on social media at all), use the button below to subscribe to my email newsletter!

Send me Snail Mail

📬 If there is something on this list that I want the most, it is this!

No one sends handwritten notes anymore so it would mean the world to me if you sent me a postcard with some words of encouragement or an update from you. Use the button below to get my mailing address via email!

Leave me a Voicemail (USA only)

📞 If you live in the US (or have access to calling a US-based phone number for very cheap!), I would love it if you left me a voicemail. Who knows, I might even pick up!

Here’s my digits:


Entertainment Recommendations

📚 My Doctor’s orders are to get as much rest as possible, especially after treatment cycles, so I’m planning to use this time to catch up on some reading and binge watch some recent TV shows! If you have a recommendation for something I should watch or read, feel free to send them my way.

Alternatively, if you would like to gift me a book that you think I would enjoy on the Kindle Store or an app or book on the Apple App Store/Apple Books, let me know as well and I can share my details for those platforms as well.

Thank you again for wanting to support me on this journey. I’m feeling very confident that I’m the one that is going to come out of this victorious!

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Nico Atienza

Chief Storyteller

An expat remote worker based in Colombo, Sri Lanka with a penchant for window seats on planes, travel, and technology that makes everyone’s lives easier.